CMK BEAUFIGHTER MK1F


CMK 4118 Beaufighter Mk 1F conversion


Images and review by David Harvey


Review Type:
FirstLook
Scale:
1/48
Price:
unknown due to change in importer
Contents and Media:
1 x sheet of decals, 7 x resin parts, 1 x acetate control panel , 1 x PE sheet and 1 x double sided instruction sheet
Advantages:
Easy backdating of Tamiya kit to early version
Disadvantages:
Modification to conversion tail may be required
Recommendation:
Recommended

Introduction

When the Beaufighter was introduced into operational service there was no 'role designation' and they were all delivered as Mk 1's. With the introduction of the Mk 1C (Coastal Command) version the night fighter version was dubbed the 1F. The Mk 1F was fitted with a 1.5 metre AI Mk IV airborne interception radar and the necessary antenna to go with it. The Mk 1C was the Coastal Command version of the aircraft and was fitted with radio and navigation equipment that met the Coastal Command requirements. These modifications included:

  • A DF loop
  • a folding chart table for the navigator/observer
  • Provision for optional desert equipment; and
  • the deletion of the six gun wings in favour of extra fuel capacity.

The majority of these changes to the aircraft were not visible on the exterior of the aircraft with only the deletion of the radar equipment that was not required for the ship attack/interception role as the main one. The deletion of the six gun wing did not take place until the 81st production beaufighter so references would be required to ensure you are producing the correct version.

The RAAF used the Beaufighter extensively in the Pacific with the MK 1C taking the numbers A19-1 to A19-72. These aircraft were used by 30 SQN and 31 SQN.

The main visible difference between the Mk 1C and the later Beaus was the flat tail plane and the lack of the bulges on the engine cowling due to different engines. The backdating of the Tamiya kit is able to be done with just trimming of the kit tail plane parts apparently but they are all supplied here for fitting with little, or no, modification.

The conversion set

The conversion set comes in the usual CMK plastic bubble pack with instructions being on a double sided yellow sheet. This set doesn't contain a great deal of parts but fixes the two main differences between the Tamiya set and the Mk 1F, these being the wheels and the tail planes.

The kit contains:

  • Tail planes x 2
  • Wheels x 2
  • Antenna x 1 Photo Etch sheet containing assorted antenna, seat belts and a replacement control panel.
  • 1 x acetate sheet for the replacement control panel
  • 1 x decals sheet

The decal sheet provides markings for two aircraft, these being:

  • Beaufighter Mk 1F (thimble nosed radar) WM-H flown by P/O M Mansfield and SGT S Janaceck in the Medium Sea Grey / Dark Green scheme; and
  • Beaufighter Mk 1F WM-P flown by W/O K Richter and SGT J Kovanda in the all over black/night scheme.

The resin tail planes require only minor cleanup due to flash and are easily removed from the molding plug. The tail planes also have slight molding imperfections (slight indents) that should be easily fixed with Mr Surfacer or your favourite filler. The wheels are slightly more difficult to separate from the moulding plug but still easily done. These wheels represent the earlier type with smooth surface and different hubs compared to the kit.

The PE sheet contains only one larger part that requires any bending and this for the Radar box in the observers cockpit. This part will be easily folded by even the newest modeller after they have the enjoyment of separating it from the sheet.

The supplied resin antenna is very thin and will most likely snap on trying to remove it from the casting blocks. If this happens it would easily be fixed by replacing the broken parts with thin tube. The only real 'modification' that you are required to do is the removal of some detail from the pilots control panel and then replace this detail with acetate sheet and a PE part.


Conclusion

This is a very simple set that would enable a Tamiya kit to be backdated to the earlier version of the Beaufighter with ease. The parts are mostly straight swaps with kit parts and would require little to no special skill to carry out. To complete this aircraft as a RAAF version you can use the High Planes Models decal sheet D4803 that covers the 1C in the Pacific. I recommend this kit due to ease of use but I am unsure on the fit of the parts as this has always been a problem with CMK conversions I have used in the past.

Addendum: After a request for information on the discussion board about this conversion it was noted that a modification was need to the conversion tail planes:

From Ryan Hamilton - " The tailplane needs to be shortened by "one rib", or the distance between the elevator and the fuselage on the later Mk tailplanes. You will also need to reshape the tailplane/elevator back to the original profile if you remove this section."

 

 

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